Surviving Winter Camping – Top 10 Tips


1. Pack all your belongings in water proof bags. It is difficult to dry things in the winter, so rule number one is to make sure everything stays as dry as possible. Equipment that you don’t need overnight is best left outside the tent.




2. A tent with a vestibule is handy in the winter. Dig a ditch here for the cold air to gather in. The warm air will always rise above the cold air and warm up your sleeping compartment. This ditch will also make it easier for you to sit upright in the tent as you can put your feet down like you were sitting in a chair. Remember to leave som higher ground by the tent entrance. If not you can get whirls of snow into your tent in windy conditions.




3. Make a wall of snow around your tent, and put snow on top of all the material where it comes down to the ground. Some tents have storm flaps. The snow on the material will secure the tent against the wind.




4. Use snow pegs or big blocks of snow to pitch the tent. Normal tent pegs will not work in the snow.




5. Never boil water inside the tent. All the moisture will freeze on the inside of your tent making it snow each time you touch the ceiling of the tent. Also you want to try and keep your things dry, and moist air inside the tent is counterproductive. If it is to cold to sit outside and boil water, you can lift the pot outside just as it starts to boil, and fill the water bottles in the tent opening.




6. Melt as much snow as you can in the evening. It can be reheated in the morning and saves you time if you have an early departure. Put water bottles and thermoses between the sleeping bags at night to ensure the water doesn’t freeze.




7. Bring a warm enough sleeping bag for your destination. Hydrodown or synthetic sleeping bag is a safer option in winter as it will still keep you warm when wet. After several days in a tent the sleeping bag will get wet due to the moisture we produce when breathing out. An inflatable sleeping mat will give you space between the cold snow and your sleeping bag, but make sure you bring a repair kit.




8. Bring a water bottle with a tight lid. Fill it with warm water just before bedtime and stick it into your sleeping bag to ensure a warm nights sleep. Undress as much as possible when in your sleeping bag. The sleeping bag needs your body heat to warm you up. If you go to bed with a lot of layers on, you will most likely be cold. Wear a beanie, and close your sleeping bag around your head in order to keep your head warm. A loose down jacket or sweater around your neck and shoulders can also help keep the cold air out and gives you something to snuggle onto.




9. Wet wipes will freeze. Dry wipes which you just dip in water before using is a good alternative to personal hygiene in the winter. If you cannot find these, use normal wet wipes, but keep them in your sleeping bag.




10. Drink a lot of fluids during the day, and as little as possible in the evening. This will hopefully prevent you from having to use the «bathroom» during the night. Eating salty foods in order to retain the fluids before bedtime is not a good idea. It will make it feel more cold.